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Gold-filled wire

A question for Orchidians: Does anyone know anything about the working
properties of gold-filled material? I am easing (financially) into
using gold with my silver by using gold-filled wire and sheet. I am
uncertain about whether I can treat it the same as silver, apart from
being careful not to wear off the gold layer. Can someone fill me in?
Do I treat it the same for: annealing? Pickling? (it gets pinkish
after pickling-do I clean it off before working it?) Forging?
Soldering? (I’m using silver solder) Will the gold layer disappear
after repeated annealings, forgings, and solderings? I thank you in
advance… Linnea Lahlum

The gold layer is thick enough to withstand careful forging, but not
filing or enthusiastic buffing. Wherever you cut the material there
will be brass that will darken. Electroplating can solve that
sometimes, but it’s better to design for the ends and edges to be
soldered to cover them. My advise would be use minimal solder too;
whenever possible use easy gold solder instead of silver solder, and
then avoid buffing as much as possible – Planish with a polished
hammer or tumble burnish in polished steel shot, and then if necessary
VERY lightly buff with rouge. Working with gold filled material can be
trickier than with solid gold, but the cost of mistakes is accordingly
less traumatic. On the other hand, there’s essentially no scrap value
to gold filled material either; you can’t re-use it as casting metal.

Alan Heugh

Dear Linnea, Here’s what works for me: You can forge goldfill, but do
not forge too thin as you will greatly decrease the wear. Pickle as
you would silver, if the pink is distressing, place item in pickle
when it is hot, do not quench in water first. I tumble goldfill in
stainless shot and burnishing soap and that takes care of any pink
cast. Use plenty of firescale inhibitor before soldering and that will
help any discoloration. Use 14K easy solder instead of silver solder
if seam will show.Do not use any solder higher than low/medium. If
you heat goldfill too hot, you will alloy material. Make test runs.

I have limited experience with g.F.,largely because I didn’t find it
very satisfactory. -It is stiffer than silver, since the core is
brass. Cut ends/edges allow the brass to show. -Forging works well, but
too much heat will cause the gold to dissappear into the brass. Gold
solder will blend in better if you’re soldering it to itself. I have
found it difficult to solder to silver, hence the too much heat. For
adding gold accents to silver, I have been much happier with
22k/silver bimetal from Reactive Metals. More expensive that g.f., but
better contrast using 22k, and the silver back is easy to solder onto
silver. Good luck! --Noel

     For adding gold accents to silver, I have been much happier
with 22k/silver bimetal from Reactive Metals. 

Noel… I agree. However, much as I love Reactive Metals, (I live 10
minutes from them!), Hauser & Miller in St. Louis sells the 22k/silver
bimetal for less. They also carry gold/siver bimetal in lesser karats.

Mary would you hav ethe address for Houser and Miller since some of
us are more than a stones throw away from them, I would appreciate it,
thanks in advance , Karen Bryan

Here you go, Karen. Nice source of many different karats of gold in
all colors. Quick service. Catalog is a little confusing about price
and has no pictures, just measurements and gauges… but it works out
that they are very competitive. Mary

    Hauser & Miller
   10950 Lin-Valle Drive
   St Louis MO 63123
   800 462 7447

Karen - Hauser & Miller have a web site at: You can see their product line and
get their address and toll free number from the home page. Steve.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Dear Alan, It is true that you cannot melt down goldfill to reuse,
however, you can sell it back to the refiner for credit. I sell mine
back and use the credit to buy tools that I see and dream about but
am too cheap to directly purchase. It adds up quick. Just didn’t want
anyone out there to throw theirs away!

Also, to solder goldfill to silver, use easy to low/medium solder
(gold or silver depending on which would be less obtrusive visually),
use firescale retardant, and voile! works a treat. Good day, Suzanne

Of course you’re right, Suzanne, that you shouldn’t throw GF scraps

My reason for advocating easy gold solder is that you can carefully
remove (file or craytex for example) overflow from the silver and
leave a clean contrasting joint, while if you overflow silver solder
onto the GF, you can’t reasonably file it away without removing the
thin layer of gold too. If you solder perfectly that doesn’t matter. I
ain’t perfect. Alan